Diet for schizophrenia: What to eat and what to avoid?
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can cause delusions, paranoia, social and cognitive problems, and hallucinations. While the most common method of this condition is medication and psychotherapy, those who have schizophrenia can benefit from following a proper diet. Certain food items must be avoided, while there are a few that would be good for schizophrenia patients.
What to avoid
There are certain food items that a schizophrenia patient should avoid as can cause various health problems that can aggravate the condition.
Schizophrenia patients need to be in good physical health to ensure their mental health improves. Maintaining blood sugar levels is important and for this, sugar and food items containing sugar must be avoided or eaten in moderation.
A diet that has high carbohydrate content needs to be avoided. Instead, a diet that has low carbs and helps in keeping blood sugar in check should be preferred. It also helps in weight control, which is required for those suffering from schizophrenia.
Gluten needs to be removed from the diet for schizophrenics. Most people are allergic to gluten found in wheat, rye, and barley. Studies have shown a link between gluten and aggravated symptoms of schizophrenia.
What to eat
A healthy and well-balanced diet helps improve both physical and mental health. The following food items and nutrients are essential for someone who has schizophrenia.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 is a very powerful fatty acid that has multiple health benefits. It has been found to be useful in improving mental health. Fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 and if one doesn’t have access to these varieties of fish, fish oil capsules and omega-3 supplements can also be consumed. Omega-3 is also found in nuts and seeds like flaxseed and pumpkin seeds.
Antioxidants help to fight free radicals and are good for improving mental health and are found in fruits and vegetables. Beans, berries, pecans, carrots, lean meat, onion, red wine, and green tea have antioxidants that can be consumed.
Food rich in fiber is a good option. It helps control blood sugar and prevents weight gain. Fiber is found in most fruits and vegetables. Wholegrain bread and cereals, potatoes with skin, peas, pulses, and nuts have high fiber content and should be included in the diet for individuals suffering from schizophrenia.
Niacin is a very helpful vitamin and can reduce symptoms of schizophrenia. The food items that are rich in niacin are liver, chicken breast, salmon, turkey, ground beef, anchovies, brown rice, avocado, and whole wheat.
Low levels of zinc can aggravate schizophrenia symptoms. Consuming food rich in zinc is a positive choice for those suffering from schizophrenia. Shellfish, dairy products, legumes, and beef are rich in zinc.
- Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is helpful for those having schizophrenia. Food rich in vitamin B12 like clams, trout, fortified cereal, and eggs can be consumed regularly for optimum benefits.